New Delhi is a big and busy city where most people lead a fast, hurried and hectic life. Call this the understatement of the year! Being the center of politics, business and education in India life is not easy in the nation’s capital. Everybody is on the move and trying to make it big! Nobody has time to even sweat and there are no points for second place. However the smart people know that it is absolutely essential to take a break from all this stress and spend some time to unwind.
Welcome to “Little Lhasa”
That is why you should definitely pack up and go to McLeodganj with your family to enjoy a fabulous weekend and holiday. It is around 485 km from Delhi and easily accessible by road and rail. You are sure to ask where is this supposed cool place that offers a welcome respite from the hard life in Delhi. McLeodganj is a suburb of Dharamshala in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, and popularly known as “Little Lhasa” or even “Dhasa.” This is because it is home to a large population of Tibetans and the place where the Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered.
The British Connection!
Why have an English name like McLeodganj right in the heart of India? Credit that to the English Raj over India! McLeodganj is named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, while the suffix “ganj” is a common name for neighborhood in the local Hindi language. McLeodganj is situated at an elevation of around 2,082 meters and is positioned on the Dhauladhar Range. Going to McLeodganj means that you also have the option to go to nearby towns like Dharamshala, Chinmaya Tapovan [a Hindu retreat center], Osho Nisarga [an Osho retreat center] and Chamunda [a pilgrimage place for Hindus].
Oh! The Places You Will See!
There are several places to see in McLeodganj itself like the important Buddhist site Tsuglagkhang [the Dalai Lama’s temple], the Namgyal Monastery, the Siddhartha, Mani Lakhang Stupa, Nechung Monastery and Norbulingka Institute. Other places to see are the church St. John in the Wilderness, Dal Lake, Bhagsu Nath and Bhagsu Falls, a waterfall. You can also visit the Tibet Museum which houses a collection of Tibetan artifacts and photographs showing the Tibetan peoples’ struggle to preserve their way of life against Chinese domination. If you happen to be in McLeodganj at the right time you can also catch the Dharamshala International Film Festival [DIFF] which is held annually.
For the religious minded there is the Bhagsunath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which is a big attraction for tourists and Hindus who come to McLeodganj. There is also a comfortable eating place called Shiva Café where you can have tea, coffee and light snacks. There is also an annual fair held near the Dal Lake which you can attend if you happen to be there at the right time of the year.
The population of McLeodganj is barely 12,000 and most of the people who you will meet will be tourists so you can have a relaxed time away from the hustle and bustle of Delhi. Enjoy the cool climate, hills, water bodies and fresh air even as your body and mind rejuvenates in McLeodganj.
Don’t Even Think Twice!
So what are you waiting for? Don’t put off giving your mind and body a break and just pack your bags and go to McLeodganj this very weekend! You will have a great time and enjoy nature and bring back the vitality that has been slowly but steadily sapped by the rigours of the big city. So if you are itching to go to a place more beautiful and less crowded make sure it is McLeodganj!